Big Data for Sales & Marketing

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3 November 2014

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When it comes to new opportunities in sales and marketing, Big Data is poised to be the biggest game-changer since the widespread adoption of the Internet. McKinsey research shows that companies that use Big Data to drive sales and marketing decisions improve their ROI by 15 to 20 percent, which equates to over $150 billion of additional value.    While most sales and marketing execs understand that they must be able to use and leverage Big Data in their planning efforts, most hit a wall of overwhelm when it comes to making it happen.

Big Data reside in an extremely complex, constantly changing environment. Technologies are always evolving, and what’s in one day is out the next. However, it is necessary to be able to navigate this changing landscape in order to make sense and use of the overwhelming amounts of data being collected.

Ask the Right Questions to Unlock Opportunities

In order to identify the most valuable opportunities, sales and marketing departments must first know the questions they want answered or the problems they would like to solve through Big Data. Broad goals such as “increase wallet share” are not useful when it comes to analyzing large data sets. Those goals must be drilled down far enough that the analysis will lead to meaningful action.  For example, the team might decide to look at market share within specific industries rather than regions. Micromarket analysis like this can provide insight into the truly fastest growing segments of a customer base.

Know Your Customers’ Decision Process, and Catch them Early

Whether B2B or B2C, understating how customers make their decisions can mean the difference between success and failure in today’s competitive marketplace.  Around 35 percent of all B2B purchases involve digital research before a purchase, which means that B2B organizations must invest heavily in web assets that will touch prospects early. This tactic has been historically reserved for B2C companies, but as the internet and mobile become more prevalent, more B2C business is happening online.

In the B2C space, organizations must be able to personalize offers at different stages of the buying journey to help attract new customers and prevent churn. Some retailers, for example, tailor their discounts, coupons, and offers based upon Big Data analysis of how likely a customer is to choose to stay long-term, or leave for a competitor.  Personalization can increase sales by ten percent or more, and can improve marketing ROI by up to eight percent.  Big Data can prevent the “spray and pray” spam-like approach that many companies still take to deliver offers to customers and prospects.

When it Comes to Big Data, Keep It Simple

Data mining is growing at a rate of 40 percent per year, and it can be overwhelming for sales and marketing leaders to keep up. In order to not become overwhelmed, the right team of data scientists must be in place to help create processes that will streamline and simplify this data. It might seem counter-intuitive to keep it simple, since Big Data is such a complex concept, but simplicity is essential for success. Predictive statistics, machine learning, and natural language mining can help automate some of the analytics process, and can provide front-end users with the most up to date information at their fingertips.

It is important to remember that it’s the sales reps other customer-facing employees whose jobs are impacted most by Big Data insights. That means that no matter how complex a data set, analysts must be able to get it to the end-user in a way that makes sense to them, and allows them to take action and adjust their approach quickly.

Big Data can be a goldmine for sales and marketing leaders, but only if they are able to use that data to drive growth. That means establishing a strong partnership with the data scientists and analysts who will help everyone make sense of the numbers.  If your organization is on the lookout for data scientists and analysts, contact Onboard Recruitment Advisers today. We work with skilled professionals with Big Data experience who are ready, willing, and able to accept new challenges. We can help you develop a team of analysts who will help drive the success of your sales and marketing teams.


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